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HANSEL AND GRETEL by Engelbert Humperdinck
This revival performance at the Metropolitan Opera of Englebert Humperdinck's HANSEL AND GRETEL is performed in a very free English translation of the German and filled with clever rhymes and snappy vernacular. The German soprano Christine Schafer makes a girlish and perhaps not-so-innocent Gretel. Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote sings the trouser role of Hansel and plays him as a boisterous and fidgety boy raging with hormones. The libretto for this 1893 opera comes from an original story by the Brothers Grimm. The librettist, Adelheid Wette, the composer's sister, found the original story much too cruel and softened it a bit. The familiar tale begins with the inept parents. The opera's mother, Gertrude, has a fit of anger at her lazy children and knocks over a jug of milk which is the only food the family has. She sends the siblings out to the forest to pick strawberries and they become lost. This production centers on images of hunger and what it will drive people to do. The first act shows the family's depressing kitchen with a 1950s-style refrigerator and a wobbly table. The second act begins with a German expressionist painting of a big mouth and jagged teeth. It lifts to shows the forest setting with trees as surreal servants. The children sing the well-known "When at Night I Go to Sleep" and are visited by 14 fairy-tale chefs. The Witch's house in Act III is an industrial sized kitchen with a huge oven to bake her child victims after fattening them up with cakes and pastries and gelatins. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski finds a nice balance between weight and whimsy. The score abounds in singable and much loved tunes. This afternoon will be a lot of fun. Bring some children or at least the ch ild in you.

Robert and Pearl Seymour Center

2551 Homestead Road · Chapel Hill, NC

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What we're about

The Chapel Hill Meetup is an Orange County cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of opera through recorded and live solo performances, group discussions, educational outreach and field trips. Membership is free with donations gratefully accepted to cover expenses. Regular meetings and presentations are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month at the Seymour Senior Center in Chapel Hill.

We meet once a month on the 3rd Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

We take a 20 minute break at the middle of the opera. And if you'd like to bring some fresh baked cookies or cakes, you will make many new friends!

More information about the Senior Center can be found at: http://www.co.orange.nc.us/aging/newseymourcenter.asp or call 919 968-2070. And, occasionally, we meet for wine and cheese at members' houses to vocalize and socialize!

All residents (and friends) of Orange County are welcome to the monthly presentations and are encouraged to add their comments and insights at the breaks and conclusion. As we say "this group will be accessible to both beginners who would want to learn more about opera and "fanatics".

We welcome your comments and suggestions for operas to be shown and other opera-related events that the group would enjoy. And we look forward to seeing you at our next Meetup!

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